Alien Nation

(Graham Baker, USA, 1988)


When aliens in popular movies are not the gooey repositories of every social taboo and phobia, it seems they must be presented as "normal" folk just like us, wanting a family, a garden, a nine-to-five job and a home in the suburbs.

At least that is the case with the "good" alien cop (Mandy Patinkin) teamed with the gruff but eventually tolerant James Caan in this curious futuristic drama – with a premise intriguing enough to lead to a string of film and television spin-offs.

Starting with a host of engaging jokes about social mores, rendered in the characteristically low-key style of director Graham Baker (Impulse [1984]), it quickly becomes a formulaic buddy cop action-thriller with a suspiciously reactionary message about what constitutes bad alien behaviour.

© Adrian Martin January 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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